While there are plenty of ways to relieve muscle soreness — like stretching and foam rolling — there’s something extra luxe about a personal massage gun. The percussive therapy device kneads away tension so you feel less sore after a workout and less achy after sitting for long periods of time. And, to use it, all you have to do is sit there.
As a health and wellness writer who is always sore for one reason or another, the mere notion of a massage gun speaks to me. If I don’t have a backache from typing at my desk, I’m achy from trying a new exercise routine. Besides that, I always wake up feeling stiff, even if I stretch before bed. In short: I’m a gal who needs a massage gun. That’s why I was excited to get my mitts on the Flyby F1 Pro Massage Gun.
This particular device looks just like the acclaimed Theragun, but it’s practically one fourth the price. It also has a lot of the same features — for one, it offers a deep tissue massage equivalent to 50 pounds of pressure designed to ease muscle tension that happens after a workout or after hours spent sitting. The F1 Pro also offers three speeds, four hours of battery life, and six interchangeable massage heads so you can really get into all your nooks and crannies.
I’ve tried other massage guns in the past, but practically went into a fugue thinking about how nice it would be to try one again. Read on for my honest review of the F1 Pro Massage Gun and how it compares to others I’ve used.
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- Price: $62.23
- Best for: Deep tissue massage, relaxation, improved mobility
- Dimensions: 2.76 x 0.79 x 2.76 inches
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Rating: 4/5
What Is A Massage Gun?
A massage gun is a recovery tool that uses percussive therapy to loosen up tight muscles, explains certified personal trainer Rachel MacPherson. It’s a handheld device that looks kind of like a water gun, but instead of firing H2O, it pummels your muscles with a (pretty intense) massage head that moves quickly up and down. This helps relieve muscle tension and increase your range of motion, just like a hands-on deep tissue massage or foam roller, says Sandra Gail Frayna, a physical therapist and founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports. That’s why massage guns are often used by athletes and exercisers alike to decrease recovery time after a workout.
Massage guns can also help reduce stress since the percussive motion kneads away tension. And that means they’re really good for backaches, too. “Massage is known to help reduce stiffness and pain in your back that occurs due to prolonged sitting,” MacPherson says, which is why they’re just as handy at work as they are in the gym.
That said, even though it’s nice to have one of these on hand, you don’t really need one, says Dr. Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT, a board-certified doctor of physical therapy. “While it can be a convenient and useful tool, massage guns are simply an asset form of manual therapy and are not necessarily superior to using hands or other tools for soft tissue mobilization,” she notes. You could also turn to good ol’ stretching for relief.
Testing The F1 Pro Massage Gun
With no shortage of sore muscles to choose from, I decided to start in the middle and work on the muscle knot that lingers right beneath my shoulder blades. The F1 Pro user manual tells you to massage over clothing while “lightly pressing and moving across the body for approximately 60 seconds per region,” so I finagled the massage gun onto my back and started to glide.
I chose the smaller round attachment as a way to pinpoint that pesky knot. It felt amazing to glide around the area where my back muscles tend to cramp, as well as up onto my shoulders. And you know what? After a minute or two, the twinge-y pain did start to lessen.
I also started to use the F1 Pro in the morning. Turns out a quick muscle massage makes it a lot easier to get up without my customary pause on the side of the bed. (Just me?) Again, I picked the round attachment, this time focusing on my thighs, hamstrings, and upper back. Like a good stretch or morning yoga routine, it woke up my muscles and relieved stiffness.
As for post-workout soreness, I made it a point to give myself a quick rubdown after exercise for one week. I did my fave cardio dance routine one day, went for a long walk with my dog another, and did a sweaty kickboxing video the next. While I tend to get really sore in my hamstrings, I noticed that I felt a lot more loose and mobile compared to my pre-massage gun days.
I ended up keeping the massage gun by my desk for quick mid-day back massages that, TBH, kind of turned my whole day around. I also loved what it did to reduce soreness. I get taken out by squats and planks (thanks, kickboxing!) but once I started using the F1 Pro, the pain clearly turned down a notch or two. These are the two improvements that stood out most.
One thing to note is this type of tool does take some getting used to. As with any massage gun, you have to be careful not to roll over bony bits, like your spine or elbows. I accidentally did a few times and the vibration felt like it shook my entire skeleton. That’s definitely something you only do once or twice, though, before you remember not to roll over your bones again. Actually, there are quite a few body parts you can’t massage, Gasnick says. Don’t massage bones or joints, organs, or your neck, face, or head. This might seem obvious, but it’s worth saying.
The Theragun is a well-known, professional-grade deep tissue massager. It comes in an array of sizes and prices that range from $159 for the Mini to $499 for the PRO. The F1 Pro is most similar to the Theragun Prime, which also has lots of attachments and a powerful massage. While the Prime is pricier, you do get five customizable speed ranges, and it’s Bluetooth enabled so you can sync with the Theragun app for personalized treatments — a feature you don’t get from the F1 Pro.
I’ve always loved using massage guns for sore muscles and backaches, and the Flyby F1 Pro is as good as any I’ve tried. I highly recommend it as a less pricy Theragun-style massager, especially if you’re like me and tend to get sore all the time.
Konrad, A. 2020. The Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles' Range of Motion and Performance. J Sports Sci Med. PMID: 33239942; PMCID: PMC7675623.
Weerapong, P. 2005. The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Sports Med. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004.
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